Travels in Geology: Patagonia: The ends of the earth

Patagonia, a region encompassing much of the southern halves of Argentina and Chile, may seem more mythical than real. As the author found, the glacial landscape is full of grandiose mountains, crystal blue lakes, wildflowers, fossils and stunning glaciers. The adventure is well worth the trip.

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Venturing into Argentina

We chose to spend most of our time on the Chilean side of Patagonia, although you could just as easily decide to spend your entire trip on the Argentine side. But if you follow an itinerary similar to ours (see main story), it’s still worth a jaunt into Argentina. The town of El Calafate, an inexpensive five-hour bus ride from Puerto Natales, Chile, is a great place to sample wines from the Mendoza region and try the local delicacy, crucified lamb. The sheep is affixed to a steel cross and roasted slowly over a campfire. The resulting image is graphic, but the meat is tender and savory. El Calafate is also the gateway to Glaciers National Park. This park is home to many wondrous sights, but prime among them is the Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina’s top tourist attraction. 
 

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Callan Bentley

Credit: Virginia Community College System.

Bentley is an assistant professor of geology at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., and a 2015 recipient of Virginia’s State Council of Higher Education Outstanding Faculty Award. He also draws EARTH’s cartoons and is president-elect of GSW (www.gswweb.org). He blogs about geology at http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway. The views expressed are his own.

Monday, May 3, 2010 - 06:00

Getting there and getting around Patagonia

There are many ways to get to Patagonia. I would have preferred to get there by following Charles Darwin’s route, aboard a replica of H.M.S. Beagle (especially considering that last year was the 200th anniversary of his birth). Sadly, the modern school calendar dictated that I move more quickly: Two weeks was all I had to work with.
 

Full content for EARTH is available to subscribers. If you would like to gain access to the full version of this article, as well as all EARTH content, please subscribe today.

If you are connecting using a Library (IP-based) Subscription, please access full issues of the magazine through our Library Access portal.

Callan Bentley

Credit: Virginia Community College System.

Bentley is an assistant professor of geology at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., and a 2015 recipient of Virginia’s State Council of Higher Education Outstanding Faculty Award. He also draws EARTH’s cartoons and is president-elect of GSW (www.gswweb.org). He blogs about geology at http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway. The views expressed are his own.

Monday, May 3, 2010 - 06:00

Callan Bentley

Credit: Virginia Community College System.

Bentley is an assistant professor of geology at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., and a 2015 recipient of Virginia’s State Council of Higher Education Outstanding Faculty Award. He also draws EARTH’s cartoons and is president-elect of GSW (www.gswweb.org). He blogs about geology at http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway. The views expressed are his own.

Monday, May 3, 2010 - 06:00

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